Welcome back, friends! Today’s topic is one of my very favorite foods – Greek yogurt. Its health benefits include probiotics, calcium, high protein, low sugar, and, if made with skim milk, it can also be fat free. The downside to this versatile taste treat is that it can be pretty expensive, especially if you eat much of it. But, as usual, the good news is that there is a better way. You can make your own Greek yogurt at home with little fuss and very few ingredients. To compare costs, a 6 oz. cup of plain Greek yogurt at a national grocery store costs around $1.69. Home made yogurt will cost you about $0.30 per 6 oz. serving. I like to start it on a Friday night, and finish the process on Saturday.
Here’s what you will need:
- Crock-pot or Slow-cooker
- Instant-read or candy thermometer
- Long-handled spoon
- Towels or blankets
- Coffee filters or cheesecloth
- Colander or large strainer
- Plastic wrap
- Deep mixing bowl
- 3 Tbs. salt
- 1/2 Gallon fat-free milk
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt with live and active cultures (more is better) – If you make a habit of saving this out from each batch, you’ll never have to buy starter yogurt again.
- Jars or other airtight containers
Here’s what you do:
- Make sure all your equipment is very clean. While we are going to be letting some bacteria grow, we want to make sure that this remains an invitation-only party.
- Turn crock-pot or slow cooker to low.
- Place the stockpot over medium high heat. Add milk. Heat, stirring frequently, until milk reaches 180 degrees.
- Once the milk reaches 180 degrees, let it simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionaly. The milk can easily bubble up while simmering, so keep a close eye on it!
- While milk is simmering, fill your sink half-full with ice water, and add the 3 Tbs. salt to it. This will give us a quick way to cool down the milk.
- After 5 minutes, set the stockpot in the ice bath. Stir frequently, until the temperature reads 110 degrees.
- Unplug the crock pot.
- When milk has cooled to 110 degrees, pour all but 1-2 cups of milk in to crock-pot.
- Stir 1/4 cup of plain yogurt into the milk remaining in the pan. Stir until smooth, then pour milk/yogurt mixture into the rest of the milk in the crock-pot. Stir to combine.
- Put the lid on the crock-pot, then wrap snugly with towels. Now, walk away! I mean it – don’t unwrap and peek, don’t stir, don’t move things around. Just leave your crock pot wrapped up for 8-12 hours.
- After 8-12 hours, unwrap the crock-pot.
- Place your colander or large strainer over a deep mixing bowl. Flatten out some paper coffee filters or cheesecloth, and line the inside of the colander.
- Spoon the yogurt into the lined colander, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and place the bowl/colander setup in the refrigerator. Leave to drain for several hours, until it is your preferred consistency.
- Discard the whey that drains off, or save for usein other recipes. Store your new yogurt in clean jars or containers in the refrigerator. The yogurt should last 2 weeks, if you don’t eat it all by then!
Here’s how you use it:
- Mix with fresh or frozen fruit, or your favorite jam.
- Drizzle with honey.
- Mix with cereal or granola.
- Use in muffin and cake recipes that call for yogurt or sour cream
- Use with your favorite dishes anywhere you would use sour cream.
How do you use your yogurt? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Peace Be With You